Disclaimer: The following may contain scenes of sexual activity between males. If you find this offensive or if it is illegal for you to read this in your locality, please do not do so. The author does not advocate nor condone the violation of any laws.
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"I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan:
very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to
me was wonderful, passing the love of women.
II Samuel 1:26 KJV
Jon sat on the steps of his house munching on peanut buttered toast and drinking Nestle's Quik. The morning was still cool as starlings and blue jays squawked and darted about the huge old oaks and maples in front. Jon looked about and tried to feel happy, but couldn't. He wasn't sad. He just couldn't feel happy. Not anymore.
He looked at the red brick pillar at the side of the porch. There were three June bug shells on the bricks, the discarded skin shed by the insects the night before and attached to the rough brinks. The summer before, he and Davy had tried to see who could collect the most June bug shells. He sighed and stood up, leaving the shells where they were, and returned inside.
"Honey, why don't you ride your bike over to the park and see if any of the boys are there," he mother suggested as he placed his dishes in the sink. "I don't want you moping around the house all day again."
"I don't feel like it. I think I'll go to the library."
His mother sighed in exasperation.
"Its summer! I don't want you spending all day, everyday, in the air conditioning. You need to get out and get some sun. Get some exercise. Get some life!"
Jon sighed. His mother sighed, too, and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"Sweetie, you'll make new friends."
"I don't want new friends," he replied angrily. "I want Davy!"
He stormed out of the kitchen, his mother shaking her head sadly in silent understanding of the pain her little boy felt.
Jon picked up his bike from the grass in the back yard and mounted it, slowly coasting down the driveway to the slope and then allowing it to pick up speed as it rolled into the street. Jon had begun lately to not look before he rolled into the street. Once again, this morning, without looking, he had not been hit by a passing car. Dully, he turned to the right, a habit he had been unable to break, and slowly pedaled away.
A teenage boy, shirtless and sweating, even in the morning cool, was mowing a yard down the street. Jon looked at him, looked at the muscled torso. The boy ignored him as he passed. Jon felt nothing.
The red brick edifice of St. Paul's Church looked as it always did. Ivy grew along the east wall. Grass grew across the sidewalk leading up to the front. The worn wooden sign at the top of the steps, where once were the words, "The Rev. Fr. Michael Hathaway, Rector," was now empty.
Jon tried not to look at the area to the west of the church. His heart couldn't take looking there; but, his eyes were drawn. He couldn't help it.
The burnt remains still stood, the ashes still blowing in the wind. All that remained of what had once been the home of his friend were the charred and burnt frame and a bicycle overgrown with weeds.
The memories of that horrible night returned as he leaned back against the sissy bar behind his banana seat.
His father had sent him to bed after the ten o'clock news. It was a Friday night and he had begged to stay up and watch Johnny Carson, but his father believed in regularity and discipline. He had hugged him and told him he loved him, and then, said no.
With the lights out and his radio down low, Jon was sitting at his desk in the dark, looking out the window and practicing one of his favorite hobbies, trying to find the farthest radio station on the dial that night. As usual, he had no trouble picking up WDAF and KCMO in Kansas City or KMOX in St. Louis. Of course, KVOO in Tulsa and KOMA in Oklahoma City were typical. He hadn't gotten KOA in Denver in quite awhile. He paused for a few minutes to listen to "Hey Jude" on WLS in Chicago and the Eleven O'Clock news from CBS on WBBM. WLW in Cincinnati was not as common as WWL in New Orleans. And, WOAI in San Antonio was a surprise. All the 50,000 watt stations always came in. And, of course, the Mexican stations did, as well, because they had no limitations on how strongly they could broadcast. But, Jon considered that cheating, so he didn't count them. Besides, he couldn't speak Spanish so he didn't know where they were anyway!
But, he almost jumped up when he heard WRVA in Richmond, Virginia. That was a first! And, then KNX! Los Angeles! Everyone had told him he could never get a station across the Rockies; but here it was! Los Angeles! He couldn't believe it. He wanted to tell someone. Darn it, Davy wasn't spending the night.
A funny smell blew into the window, a foul, unpleasant odor and just as he noticed it, he heard a siren, then another, then another. He saw the lights from the fire truck on the next street over as it roared to the west.
He ran downstairs.
"Daddy! Where's the fire?"
His mother was sitting in front of the TV with a glass of sherry. His father was just setting a small wooden tray with cheese and crackers down on the coffee table.
"Well, just a moment and I'll find out."
Jon watched as his father picked up the receiver off the big beige phone on the table by the front door. He dialed a number and then said, "Hey, Sergeant. Bill Holbrook. Pretty good. How's Mikey's knee doing? Excellent! Glad to hear it. Say, where's the fire?"
Suddenly, Jon saw his father's face lose its emotion and turn white. His eyes darted to Jon and then to his wife.
His father swallowed.
"It's the Rectory at the Church."
Jon panicked and ran for the door.
"Davy!" he screamed.
His father grabbed the struggling boy and held him as Jon fought to free himself.
"Let me go! Let me go! I need to see if Davy's OK!"
His mother was holding Jon now as his father rushed out the door.
For an agonizing hour, Jon sat on the couch with his mother, trembling in fear for his friend, imaging the most horrible scenarios, praying, begging God to keep his friend safe.
Just after midnight, the sound of the car pulling into the driveway caused him to jump from the couch and run for the door; but, he froze on the steps as he saw his father emerge from the car. He simply stood there looking at Jon.
"No," the boy whispered,
And, then, the passenger side door opened. Davy emerged and stood by the car.
"Davy!" Jon screamed. He ran forward but his father caught him. Jon looked at his friend. Davy was simply standing there, numbly, in shock.
"Is he OK" Jon asked his father. His father squeezed his shoulder.
"Davy, where are your parents?"
Davy looked Jon in the eyes and Jon knew, even before he saw his father out of the corner of his eyes shake his head. He heard his mother gasp and suddenly the two boys were holding each other.
Tears formed in his eyes as Jon sat on his bike surveying the ruins and remembering that horrible night. He remembered the funeral for Davy's parents. He remembered his father's outrage when the fire was ruled an accident. He remembered the nights Davy stayed with his family, the two clutching each other, desperate to erase their pain.
And, most of all, he remembered the day Davy's aunt and uncle drove away with Davy, watching his friend's face in the window of the station wagon until it disappeared around the corner.
Why would anyone want to kill Davy's family? Every liked Fr. Hathaway. Even the Baptists, who thought Episcopalians were "fake Catholics," treated him with respect. Jon had asked his father that question and saw a dark look come over his face.
"I don't know, son. I don't know. But, I will find out, or die trying."
A sleek 707 on its way to the airport in Scottsburg roared overhead and awoke Jon from his thoughts. With a sigh, he slowly pedaled on to the park.
As he passed the lonely, scary fortress of the Pushitaw State Boys Home, Jon stopped his bike and looked across the chain-link fence at the few boys shooting baskets. They seemed pretty aggressive and, at one point, a fight broke out. It ended as quickly as it began and the boys began to play again, but not before one of them, a kid a little older than he caught sight of Jon sitting on his fancy Stingray and watching them. The kid grabbed his crotch, thrust his hips out, raised a hand with his middle finger sticking up, and yelled, "Hey, faggot! What the fuck you lookin' at? Get your skinny little ass over here and I'll give ya sumpm to look at!"
Jon was shocked. Why would the kid be so angry about him watching them play basketball? Quickly, he pedaled onward toward the gate to the park, the taunts and jeers of the boys in his ears.
The strange man whom Jon had seen at the park during spring break emerged from a door on the side of the Boys Home as Jon came upon the Bible College. The man, his black hair shiny, skinny in his short-sleeved white shirt, black tie and slacks, stared at Jon as he passed. The boy shuddered for a reason he could not understand, before turning into the gate of the park.
A game was already underway on the softball diamond as Jon rode up to the bleachers. He dropped his bike in the grass and walked over to edge of the right field bleacher. The boys on the field ignored him until the third out. As the two teams ran past each other, one of the boys yelled sarcastically, "Hey, Holbrook! Wanna umpire?"
This was met with chuckles from several of the boys. Jon frowned.
"Naw, that's OK."
"Whatsa matter?" another asked. "Still missin' your boyfriend?"
Jon looked away.
"Hey, Jackson, you asshole," one of the others yelled. "That wasn't fair. They were friends. Hathaway's parents died. Give Holbrook a break."
"Yeah? Well, its still weird."
"Come on, Jon. You can bat in my place."
"Yeah, Jon," yelled Pete. "Come on!"
Jon thought for a moment and then shrugged.
"Naw, that's OK. Thanks, though."
As Jackson took his place at first base, he snorted.
"Shit. Holbrook's too good to play with us."
"What do you mean by that?" he demanded.
The other boys froze. This was the first stage and the rules all said, `don't interfere in the first stage.'
Jackson took a step forward.
"I mean, you think you're better than us. You think you so damn smart and you dress so damn fancy and your Dad's a bigwig in the court. Well, my Uncle Dan says your Dad's a pussy!"
That was it. The line was crossed. All the boys knew that there was no stepping back from that kind of challenge.
"Take it back," Jon said softly.
"No," Jackson sneered.
Ben stepped forward, a clear violation of the rules.
"Man, Jackson, take it back. That isn't fair. You can't say sumpm like that about a guy's dad."
"Fuck off, Ben."
Several boys stepped back in shock, their eyes wide. Jackson had used the "f" word. An eleven year-old boy in Pushitaw in 1969 just did not say the "f" word unless it was really serious.
Jon steeled himself, his fists tight. He was scared, but there was no way he could let Jackson get away with calling his father a pussy. Jackson watched him approach and taunted him.
"Jonny, your dad's a pussy."
That was it.
Fists were flying, bodies fell into the dirt, arms twisted around torsos. Boys circled around, giving the combatants room, as they cheered one or the other. But, suddenly, several boys were pushed aside and the fighters were pulled apart. As Jon fell back in the dirt, he looked up in surprise to find the young man with the shiny black hair standing over them shaking his head with a sad smile on his face.
"Jimmy Lee, what are you doing?" he asked Jackson in a weirdly oily voice.
"Teachin' pussy Jonny a lesson," the boy responded defiantly.
The man turned his gaze to Jon, who felt distinctly uncomfortable as the man's dark eyes examined his body. The man then turned back to Jackson.
"Jimmy Lee, your Uncle Dan would be very disappointed in you if he knew you were fighting someone smaller than you."
Jon started to protest the obvious unfairness of the remark, but the man was continuing his chiding.
"Now get up and get home. And, as for you," he said, turning his attention back to Jon, "you should learn to turn the other cheek. It is righteous to forgive."
The man's eyes swept over Jon again and then he turned and walked back toward the college as Jackson stormed away and the crowd dispersed.
"Man, that was weird," Ben said as he and Pete joined Jon at the edge of the bleachers.
"Yeah," Pete agreed. "That guy gives me the creeps."
Jon, however, remained silent and stared off at the clouds building to the southwest.
Later that morning, as he was riding his bike home for lunch, he passed by the Courthouse just as his father and another man were emerging from the front door. His father happily waved him over to say hi, but as Jon approached, his face took on a look of concern.
"Good grief, son! What happened to you?"
"I got into a fight at the park."
The man standing next his father was large, with bushy black eyebrows and dark, scary eyes. His black hair was slicked back. He chuckled at Jon's statement. Jon's father, however, was not amused.
"Now, son. What have I told you about fighting?"
"But, Daddy, I had to."
His father crossed his arms.
"Who was it?"
"Jimmy Lee Jackson."
At that, the strange man raised a curious eyebrow. Jon continued.
"He said that his Uncle Dan called you a... well, I can't say it."
His father glanced over at the man, who cleared his throat and grinned. His father dropped his arms.
"You were fighting because someone called me a name?"
His father's face softened and he hugged Jon.
"It's a good thing a boy should defend his father," the man said. "Some day you really might need it"
His father looked at the man and replied, "I'm not afraid, Dan."
The man slapped him on the back and walked on toward the sidewalk, but not before adding, "I know you're not. You're a brave man. Or a fool."
Jon looked at the man in shock.
"Daddy! He called you a fool!"
Jon started to reply angrily to the man, but his father squeezed his shoulder.
"Its OK, son. We're having a difference of opinion. He wasn't being mean or disrespectful."
But, Jon was not completely convinced.
"Why did he say that?"
His father checked his watch.
"Let's walk home for lunch and we can talk about it."
And, as Jon walked his bike alongside, his father said, "That was Daniel Webster Franklin. He's a very powerful politician and he and I are having a disagreement about an investigation I'm handling."
"What's it about?"
They were crossing Main Street.
"Well, I don't think the fire at the Rectory was an accident and Franklin does and he thinks it would be a waste of resources to investigate it further."
They were leaving the businesses on Main Street and entering the neighborhood. Softly, Jon asked, "Do you think Franklin did it?"
"No, but I think he doesn't want us to find out who did."
They crossed another street and turned the east, passing under a huge old oak.
"Well, let me ask you something, son. In the days before the fire, did Davy's father ever mention anything about the Boys Home to you?"
Jon thought. "Nnno. Wait. There was one morning when we were fixing Davy's flat tire and his dad came out of the church and told Davy to tell his mom that he was running over to the Boys Home."
His father stopped. "When was this?"
"I guess it was like a day or two before the fire."
"Which was it? Think, son. This is important."
"The fire was on a Friday, um. It was Wednesday! Yes. It was Wednesday."
"Are you certain?"
"Yes sir! The ice cream man came by while we were working on the bike and he had half-price fudgesicles. He always has half-price fudgesicles on Wednesday!"
His father grabbed him and hugged him.
"Son, you don't know what you've just done!"
"You mean you know who set the fire?" Jon asked excitedly.
"I have a pretty good idea and I'm going to prove it."
As they came to the driveway leading up to their house, Jon stopped.
"But, Daddy, what if Franklin doesn't want you to?"
"Sometimes, Jon, you have to do what your conscience tells you to do, without worrying about what other people think. You can't live your life worrying about what others think."
Jon dropped his bike in the grass and the two climbed the stairs to the back porch. After his parents had hugged and everyone had washed their hands, (and face and arms and changed clothes, in Jon's case), they gathered around the kitchen table for sandwiches and vegetable soup.
"Daddy," Jon asked as he swallowed a bite of apple, "why is it that people don't like it when someone does what's right instead of what everyone wants?"
His father seemed thoughtful.
"Are you asking because of something that's happened to you?"
"Well, sometimes the guys get irritated when I tell them their breaking the rules when we play softball. Sometimes they call me a snob and say that I think I'm better than them."
"Well, are you a snob?"
"Well, then don't worry about it. If you know in your heart what is true, it doesn't matter what other's think."
He then stood up and, with a dramatic flourish, declared,
"What would you have me do?
Seek the patronage of some great man,
And like a creeping vine on a tall tree
Crawl upward, where I cannot stand alone?
No, thank you!
Eat a toad for breakfast every morning?
Scratch the back of any swine that
roots up gold for me?
No thank you!"
Jon and his mother both clapped vigorously and yelled, "Bravo!" as his father bowed and resumed his chair.
"Who was that, Daddy?"
"Cyrano de Bergerac."
"Your father was the best Cyrano in the history of Scottsburg University," his mother declared with pride.
His father stood and left the kitchen. A moment later, he returned with a small pink book, Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond Rostand. On the cover was a picture of a dashing swordsman looking up proudly from behind... an enormous nose. Jon smiled.
"I think you might enjoy it," his father said. "It's a bit challenging for an eleven year-old, but I think you can handle it."
And, for the next several days, Jon did just that. Engrossed in the story of a soldier, scholar, poet, scientist, dreamer, and romantic, Jon experienced one of the great literary and emotional awakenings of his young life. He was inspired by the dashing Cyrano, by his courage, by his refusal to compromise, by his integrity and loyalty.
However, one afternoon, as he was sitting on a bench at the park, several boys came by and asked what he was reading. He tried to explain the story, to show the romance, the excitement, the passion. But, thy didn't seem to understand. The wandered onward, leaving Jon alone on the bench.
In the forward of the Modern Library edition, a man named Clayton Hamilton had written about being a boy in New York in the 1890's and waiting anxiously with his friends for the first editions of the play to arrive at Brentano's.
He felt so alone. Boys had loved this play seventy years before. Why didn't his friends understand it now, understand why he loved it? Why was he the only one?
It was mid-afternoon and the greatest heat of the day was building. Jon looked behind him; there was a water fountain outside the restrooms. He stood and slowly made his way over. As he stooped to drink, however, he noticed the creepy guy from the college walking across the road.
Jon's first instinct was to leave, but, darn it, he had to pee. Could he make it home in time? The pressure was starting to build. Maybe if he hurried, he could get out of the park without having to talk to him.
Jon hurried around the corner and into the restroom.
The nasty odor of urine assaulted him. Jon would have hurried anyway because of the filthy nature of the place. There were disgusting little plastic things in the corner which the other boys called scumbags. There were filthy drawings on the walls and lurid comments written in ink and pencil.
Jon quickly steeped up to the metal trough and began to relieve himself. He was trying to hold his breath, hoping he could finish before he needed to breath again. But, just as he realized he could hold it no longer, the door opened. His heart stopped.
"Well, aren't you lucky!"
The oily voice sent chills throughout Jon's body as he exhaled.
"You're David's little friend, aren't you? You haven't gotten into any more fights with Jimmy Lee, have you?"
Jon said nothing; he simply watched the dwindling stream into the trough. Then, to his consternation, the man walked over to the trough and faced him. Jon's penis was clearly within his sight.
"You're awfully quiet." Jon said nothing, but began to shake the last drops away.
"You're also awfully cute."
As he said this, the man reached across and took hold of Jon's penis. The boy looked at the man in terror and tried to pull away, but the man squeezed his balls.
"Now, you don't want to leave, do you?"
"Let me go," Jon breathed, "or I'll scream."
The man smiled.
"No you won't, because if you do, I'll turn your balls into mush."
To emphasize his point, he squeezed again. Eliciting a cry of pain and fear from the boy. Then, as he eased off, his hand began to fondle and manipulate the balls and penis.
"Besides, don't you want to play with me? David used to play with me. David used to have fun with me."
Suddenly, pieces of the puzzle that was David's moodiness, his fear that Jon would hate him, his increased need to be hugged after that day in spring, all came together. Jon looked up at the man, realization dawning on his face; and, just as that occurred, a sudden sensation grew in his penis and it began to grow. It was The Feeling, the feeling he had when loving Davy, the feeling he had at night in bed as he dreamed of loving Davy.
Jon struggled not to get hard. The Feeling was too beautiful, too wonderful to experience in this way. It wasn't supposed to be this way.
"No. Please stop."
"Now, now. Be a good boy. We can have fun."
The man's hand became more insistent, rubbing, squeezing, caressing, coaxing his little penis into a rigid erection.
This was not the way it was supposed to be. But, it felt so good. Shame swept over the boy and tears formed in his eyes. This was wrong, so very wrong, yet it felt good, so good. He was dirty. He was evil. Now, he knew why Davy had shown such pain. Davy was sick and dirty, too. But, he didn't want to be. He and Davy were just alike. They were both evil.
When it was over and Jon was allowed to zip up his shorts, the man gave him a sickly grin.
"Now that wasn't so bad, was it?"
Jon could barely stand there. The man grasped him again through his shorts and roughly squeezed.
"If you ever tell anyone what happened, I'll kill your parents."
Jon looked up at the man's eyes. They were devoid of humanity. They were... demonic. He knew who killed Davy's parents.
And, in that moment, Jon's childhood ended.
So ends Chapter Six. I thank you for reading my story. I know it seems dark and I must admit it will continue so. However, rest assured there is a good ending. I am not capable of writing a sad ending. Please write to me free7thinker (at) operamail.com .